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Prior Knowledge and Retrieval Practice

Prior Knowledge and Retrieval Practice

By Althea Need KaminskeA few weeks ago I wrote about the effects of prior knowledge on new learning. I reviewed research which found that students who had stronger prior knowledge of a topic were more likely to remember more new information on that topic (1). This suggested a “rich-get-richer” effect, where it is easier to…
Prior Knowledge and Learning New Information: The Rich Get Richer

Prior Knowledge and Learning New Information: The Rich Get Richer

The ResultsA regression analysis showed that prior knowledge predicted final test performance for new items, but only in the domain that they had prior knowledge for. People who came into the experiment with a stronger background in cooking learned more “new” facts about cooking, but not football. Similarly, people with a stronger background in football…
Spacing Retrieval is More Important than Extra Retrieval

Spacing Retrieval is More Important than Extra Retrieval

Let me phrase those results a different way. Taking the same amount of time and energy that it took to write the normal quiz for a class and just distributing those questions across a couple different quizzes was more beneficial than writing and answering (and grading?) additional quiz questions. Educators: Quiz your students. Absolutely you…
Spaced Retrieval Practice Benefits Long-Term Learning and Transfer

Spaced Retrieval Practice Benefits Long-Term Learning and Transfer

By Megan SumerackiFor over a century cognitive psychologists have been studying spaced practice and retrieval practice, resulting in a great deal of evidence that these two strategies work very well to improve student learning. However, no single experiment or paper is going to be able to answer, in full, the question “how does this strategy…
School Meals and Academic Achievement

School Meals and Academic Achievement

By Althea Need KaminskeNote: This post focuses specifically on education within U.S. school systems. When we give presentations and talk to people about effective learning strategies, one of the most common questions that we’re asked is: “If this is so effective, why isn’t it being taught in schools?”. This is a complicated question with a complicated…
Help Students Believe in Themselves: Self-efficacy Boosts Exam Scores

Help Students Believe in Themselves: Self-efficacy Boosts Exam Scores

by Cindy NebelThe six strategies for effective learning are, indeed, effective, but only to the degree that students actually use them. And in order to change behavior, we have to consider motivation. Now, motivation is an entire area of psychology and not one that we pretend to be experts in. There are many different motivational…
The Way Learners Think About Intelligence Affects Their Own Study Choices

The Way Learners Think About Intelligence Affects Their Own Study Choices

The authors explained that when the participants were told intelligence can be improved, they may have thought that restudying the words they had not learned very well would lead to the most growth. When the participants were told intelligence is fixed, the words they thought they had not learned very well may have been reminded…
Informal Science Education and Interest Development

Informal Science Education and Interest Development

The survey revealed that students’ self-reported level of competence in science skills increased steadily through the study, with competence significantly higher at the midpoint survey than baseline and significantly higher at post survey than midpoint. A similar pattern emerged for students’ engagement with science outside of the program, however the only significant difference was from…
Reflective Class Feedback: Enriching In-Class Quizzes With Discussion

Reflective Class Feedback: Enriching In-Class Quizzes With Discussion

By Carolina Kuepper-TetzelOne way to engage students and foster their learning is through in-class quizzes (1). In-class quizzes have gained in popularity due to the open access to polling software that teachers can easily set up and students can engage with via their phones, tablets, or laptops (e.g., Kahoot, Slido, Poll Everywhere). Therefore, quick in-class…
Reducing Math Anxiety with Expressive Writing

Reducing Math Anxiety with Expressive Writing

 So what you can see here is that when working memory demands are low (easy problems), people respond pretty fast and don’t make a lot of errors, regardless of anxiety. But when they need to use more of their working memory on the hard problems (High WM demand), anxiety starts to get in the way.…

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